Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
The National Association of Realtors claims to have 1.4 million members. There will be fewer members before long as the association begins purging conservative real estate agents.
At the center of the storm was an addition to Article 10 which covers various forms of discrimination. But unlike all the previous sections which addressed how real estate professionals interacted with customers, Article 10-5 is catchall cancel culture that controls what real estate agents say on social media on their own private accounts and in their free time.
This goes far beyond being made to bake a cake. Even if you’re at home and you post something opposed to gay marriage or illegal migration, you can lose your business.
As the NAR claims, a realtor’s “speech and conduct reflect on the REALTOR® organization whether said publicly on a business social media profile, or privately on a personal one.”
When you’re a real estate agent, you no longer have the right to personal opinions.
Article 10-5 immediately transformed 1.4 million people into subordinates at the mercy of NAR brass who have the authority to determine what political or religious views they can hold.
“It means that we never take our hands off, no matter where we are, no matter what we do, we are always licensed and we are always a member of the National Association of Realtors,” New York State Association of Realtors President Jennifer Stevenson warned.
Never taking your “hands off” is endemic to socialist tyrannies and has no place in America.
Jennifer is a Democrat donor. The NAR’s PAC directs a majority of its cash to Democrats. That included $3,000 to subsidize the bigotry of Rep. Ilhan Omar and $5,000 to Rep. Rashida Tlaib.
But that’s the kind of hatred that the National Association of Realtors is comfortable subsidizing.
“No matter where we are,” means never being able to say anything that offends someone like Jennifer without fear of being sanctioned, fired, or losing your business. Jennifer, an NAR board member, and others will be looking over your shoulder every time you post anything on Facebook. Any leftist offended by anything an NAR member posts has an easy recourse.
“Doesn’t this mean that if I post my opinion online and someone doesn’t agree with it, that I can lose my membership and be forced out of the business?” the NAR FAQ asks.
The answer is yes. Anyone can bring an “ethics” complaint which will lead to a “hearing” with “witnesses” and “counsel”. Posting that illegal migration is wrong or that Islamic terrorism is a threat can now lead to a real estate agent facing a hearing. And if they lose that hearing, then not only will they be expelled from the NAR, but the state real estate licensing authority will be told that the agent violated the “public trust” which can lead to the loss of their license.
Say the wrong thing on Facebook and lose your license, your business, and your livelihood.
The NAR is wrongly characterizing personal views that are privately expressed as “discriminating”, treating it as a violation of “ethics” in a commercial enterprise, and then reporting it to state licensing authorities as a violation of the “public trust”.
This is cancel culture on a national level by one of the country’s most abusive organizations which had already been sued by the Department of Justice for multiple antitrust violations.
What constitutes saying the wrong thing?
Article 10-5 bans “harassing speech, hate speech, epithets, or slurs based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity.”
In an era when supporting President Trump is considered “hate speech”, how are these terms going to be defined? Exhibit 2 of Appendix XIII to Part Four of Article 10-5 of the NAR has an easy answer. Everything that some leftist doesn’t like now violates the NAR’s rules.
Hate speech is any speech that is “intended to insult, offend” because of “some trait”. Any remarks that can be seen as “disparaging” or “shaming”, or can be characterized as a form of “innuendo”, about a protected group is covered under “epithets”. That would cover the use of the term “illegal alien”, any discussion about Islamic terrorism, or transgender compulsion.
Harassment, for example, includes “inappropriate conduct, comment, display, action, or gesture based on another person’s sex, color, race, religion, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and any other protected characteristic.” And that in turn includes, “negative stereotyping” and “the display or circulation of written or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility toward an individual or group.”
That would, as a practical matter, include the Bible. And certainly particular Bible verses.
The National Association of Realtors has, for all intents and purposes, made quoting Bible verses on a private Facebook profile into an ethical violation leading to a hearing and expulsion.
The NAR board falsely claimed that these speech codes stem from fair housing legal obligations. They do not. Worse still, the NAR’s insistence that, “disparaging a particular protected class is evidence of one’s inability to treat them equally” is a troubling argument that would bar traditional Christians and Jews from membership in the National Association of Realtors. Likewise, Americans who oppose illegal migration, would also be banned.
Article 10-5 claims to be fighting discrimination, but is actually licensing discrimination against 200 million Americans, a much larger class than the ones the NAR claims to be protecting.
The NAR argues that, “bias against protected classes revealed through the public posting of hate speech could result in REALTORS® not taking clients from certain protected classes or not treating them equally, which would lead to violations of the Fair Housing Act.” What this really means is that real estate agents are being sanctioned for discrimination that never actually took place while assuming, for example, that because a traditional Christian or Jew opposes gay marriage that they would be presumed to discriminate against gay or lesbian customers.
Barring traditional religious people from a profession because they are presumed to biased is a bias and a much more egregious form of discrimination than the one it claims to be remedying.
The National Association of Realtors is imposing a political and religious test on members. It has moved the bar from policing interactions with customers to policing personal beliefs.
This is fundamentally un-American. Article 10-5 is McCarthyism wrapped in buzzwords.
Around the same time that the NAR was rolling out its speech codes, the Justice Department sued the group for multiple antitrust violations accusing it of anti-competitive behavior.
This isn’t the first time that the NAR has been sued over antitrust violations, but it should lead to action, if not at a federal level, then at a state level. In some states, not being a member of the NAR makes being a real estate agent all but impossible. In many, it makes it difficult.
As a socialist oligarchy squeezes conservatives out of public life, elected officials should fight back before it’s too late against the powerful institutions which have taken over American life. These institutions, financial, academic, corporate, and trade associations are engaging in a sustained campaign of political and religious suppression under the guise of fighting against discrimination. This campaign is the greatest form of discrimination in America in generations.
The only way to stop the squeeze is to squeeze the squeezers. If there’s no room for conservatives in the NAR, there should be no room for the NAR in conservative states.